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I am a little concerned with planning a meeting in New Orleans...

I am a little concerned with planning a meeting in New Orleans...

Old Jan 1st, 2007, 12:07 PM
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I am a little concerned with planning a meeting in New Orleans...

I am responsible for coordinating a small executive meeting on March 1/2. I am looking at the Royal Sonesta. Actually if I select NO at all, it will be at the Royal.
My question is this... Is New Orleans cleaned up enough? Is it scary right there in the French Quarter?
I am just a little worried to select NO as the destination at all. I hear it is still just awful on some websites.
Just confused.
Can anyone give me first hand info that is not sentimental? I mean, I love New Orleans but I do not want anyone saying "Why the hell did she pick this dump of a town?"
Thoughts?
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 12:17 PM
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An annual meeting DH attends was scheduled this month for NO at the Ritz Carlton. The meeting has been moved to Houston because the Ritz could no longer guarantee the needs / requirements of the organization. Though I understand the need to move the meeting it's unfortunate, imo. Tourist dollars could really help this city in need. Sorry I don't have useful information to share but I appreciate and understand what you're trying to do and hope you're successful in the planning of this meeting in NO.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 01:13 PM
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I was in NO in June for a conference. The French Quarter is totally fine. We had a great time and, I agree, the city needs the revenue.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 01:28 PM
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If choosing the wrong place for your meeting could be a "bad career move," you owe it to yourself to visit the location and make up your mind for yourself.

Don't rely on the opinions of some strangers when it could reflect on your livelihood and standard of living in the future.

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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Just returned on Saturday from a four day Christmas gift that my husband and I gave each other. Tourist's NOLA is on the mend for sure, and should only be improved by March. As has been stated, the French Quarter is absolutely fine, the area around the casino is in pretty good shape, most of the restaurants are up and running and the food remains delicious! Public transportation still needs some work, but if you don't want to travel much beyond the French Quarter and the CBD,or are willing to take cabs, you should be fine. I would say, "Go for it!" By the way, we heard many thank yous from people who really want to see the tourists and their money come back to help the city rebuild.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 03:46 PM
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I am one of the attendees... We are all travel professionals volunteering for a travel industry association, meeting to work on our convention. We are not planning to take public transport.
I think we all have a good understanding of the importance of supporting the New Orleans market and the hotel will go 'all out' for this group, too.
I was just really just a little concerned that it was not the right time.
The meeting is shortly after Mardi Gras and I bet NO is pushing to get the city ready.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Just a brief response. The city is really gearing up for the Sugar Bowl, which will be occurring later this week. Maybe you will get more info from those who spent a few days there, once they've recovered from the game. I really want to stress again that the French Quarter looks good - the most glaring absence is Mr. B's restaurant - it's still boarded up, but the signs all say it will be ready to open in Feb.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 04:33 PM
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The French Quarter was barely touched by the hurricane and is back up and running. The aquirium, the casino, Saks in 1 Canal Place, all the river cruises, the zoo, and 80% of all restaurants are open. The only way you would know a hurricane hit would be to take a tour to the outer areas of the city. The St.Charles street cars should be running by then, if not already. Like any major city don't venture away from the crowds at night. Have a great time.
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 05:30 PM
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I feel much better!
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Old Jan 1st, 2007, 06:15 PM
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I live in Metaire the closest suburb of NO (on the other side of the canal where the levee broke) I drive all over New Orleans and would recommend your coming.

It is a great time to come because of the lack of crowds. You can actually eat at some of the great restaurants the city offers.

If you come in from the airport, go downtown and the French Quarter it is possible you might not even notice the damage that is still there.

There is still a lot of music on the streets and in clubs.

If you have a small group, a tour of some of the hard hit areas can really open eyes as to the power of this hurricane. I consider myself a lucky one since I only had about a foot of water in my home. My sister is still not back in her house. (Still waiting for insurance so she can finish) She has been living in a camper trailer in her driveway.

We really DO appreciate the tourist who are coming! Without tourism the city can't come back.

I have been going to the Quarter more often now than I used to. It is easier to find parking spaces so I can just come down for lunch or beignets.

If you have any specific questions as to what is or isn't open just let me know.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 01:00 PM
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You'll be welcomed in New Orleans! I was there with a small group a month ago, similar situation. The Vieux Carre is in great shape and eager. Bourbon Street is just as loud and raunchy and friendly at night.

As Americans, it's important to visit the outlying areas that are struggling so desperately -- the Lower Ninth, St. Bernard. You'll be stunned at the damage that's still there to see, and the resiliency of the smiling, hopeful people cleaning up terribly banged-up houses. These people have been so put upon, by a hurricane, by levees crumbling, by slow-moving bureaucracy, by balking insurance companies, by lack of information, by greedy contractors, and by other Americans who say they should stop looking for a handout and get on with rebuilding. The last part, I think, is the worst.

DO go there. You'll have a great time. And the city deserves it.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 01:09 PM
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TxTP, consider much of what you read with a grain of salt. I personally think the French Quarter (and much of "touristy" New Orleans, for lack of a better word) is as good as it was pre-Katrina. Many in the national media, however, are still somewhat fixated on the New Orleans experience as the city rebuilds and they cover EVERYTHING. Just last week we had a heavy rain which caused some minor street flooding yet USA Today made it look like the city was under water. We've always had lots of drug-related murders in poor neighborhoods but, again, you'd think that it's happening all over town these days (it's not!).

SO, come on down. You may find slight inconveniences here and there but you'll also find a city that needs your presence and is glad to have you.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 01:47 PM
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Oh, and I'd like to recommend Bayona as a particularly fine restaurant for your group. Smashing!
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